South African Derek Gripper is the world’s first guitarist to successfully translate the music of the 21-string West African kora onto solo guitar. His ninth recording, One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali, captures his extraordinary interpretations of the music of Malian composers Toumani Diabaté, Ali Farka Touré, and Ballaké Sissoke in a record that Songlines Magazine has called “a staggering achievement,” selecting the album as a Top of the World album for March 2013.
But Gripper’s output extends beyond Africa to include interpretations of the works of Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti, collaborations with classical Indian tabla, innovation of South African folk sounds, and arrangements of J.S.Bach’s solo violin works. Classical Guitar Magazine called Gripper’s 2011 recording of original compositions set alongside the works of Gismonti “an excellent album…of hypnotic beauty” whilst Guitar International says of the same album that Gripper’s world class ability “is able to transcend the instrument itself.”
ONE NIGHT ON EARTH: Music from the Strings of Mali
“Gripper has cracked it…his playing has a depthless beauty, which does full justice to the complexity of Toumani’s compositions. To do so without any hint of the music being dumbed down is a staggering achievement on solo guitar…Gripper’s record genuinely complements Toumani’s music, and the more resonant sonorities of the guitar give the record its own baroque attraction…Gripper’s extensive liner notes are a tour de force, too – it’s one of the most perceptive and insightful pieces ever written about the kora and the compositional qualities of Toumani’s unique music.” [Nigel Williamson, Songlines Magazine] Read the full review here:
In “One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali”, Derek Gripper has arranged and performed on guitar the compositions of legendary Malian musicians Toumani Diabate, Ali Farka Toure, Ballake Sissoke and Vincent Segal. The extraordinary feat of this recording can only be imagined when one considers that this music was originally composed for and played on the kora, a 21 string African harp-lute made from a skin covered calabash with a hardwood neck.
In an article by Chris Roper in the Mail & Guardian, Derek Gripper describes the kora as “one of the most complex instruments in Africa, an instrument able to perform bass lines and harmonic accompaniment while simultaneously improvising virtuosic melodic lines, creating the impression of a three-piece ensemble on just one instrument.”
Bannin Eyre of Afropop Worldwide calls the result “astounding, not just for its technical brilliance, but its musicality. Gripper executes these pieces with the precision and attention to detail one might expect from a great classical musician…It’s hard to imagine a more impressive and passionate rendering of Malian music on classical guitar, particularly from a person who has done it all his own way.” (Banning Eyre, America’s African guitar guru reviews ‘One Night on Earth’ read the full article here)
Of Derek Gripper’s interpretation of this music, Chris Roper writes: ”Doing sublime justice to this music on six strings is an incredible achievement…. As with the excellent album, it is music that leaves you feeling a little more than human, a little better than human.” writes Chris Roper in The Mail & Guardian (read)
more reviews here
Watch Derek Gripper performing the Mandé classic Jarabi at the launch of One Night on Earth at the Slave Church in Cape Town:
To receive updates on new releases and upcoming performances, join mailing list here:
…follow Derek Gripper on Facebook.
…or just send a mail to email@example.com
DEREK IS ENDORSED BY SCHERTLER AMPLIFICATION AND HANNABACH STRINGS